A Black Friday to Remember

Friday night we had a bit of a fright. My wife, Jennifer, is pregnant and the baby isn’t due for a few months yet; however, Friday night she started having contractions 5 minutes apart. From what she told me, it wasn’t the normal labor contractions, but apparently any contractions that occur regularly are cause for concern at her stage in the pregnancy. We called the hospital and they told us to come in. They gave my wife 3 shots to stop the contractions, ran some tests, and let us go Saturday morning. They also put her on bed rest, which means she can’t do anything but eat, go to the bathroom, and bathe. She has an appointment on Tuesday and we can only hope and pray she doesn’t have to be on bed rest after that, or life around her is going to get very complicated.

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Birthday Bash

The in-laws are in town this week, and that has been keeping me from blogging.  I’m pretty exhausted seeing as I have been staying up later than usual playing games and chatting.  Last night was a big night because we went to a local seafood restaurant for my father-in-law’s birthday.  We had about 13 people there, as the extended relatives that live around here also came.  Since the restaurant was about 5 minutes from my work, I was the first to get there. Jennifer had called and made a reservation, so I simply told the hostess whom I was with and she took me to our tables.

The first thing I noticed was there wasn’t a highchair (can you tell I think like a daddy?).  There was a place one would fit, so I asked the waitress for a highchair.  “Was it 13 and a highchair or 13 with the highchair?”  I didn’t know, and more importantly, I didn’t see why it mattered.  There was a place to put the highchair.  “I’m not sure,” I replied. I assumed at this point the conversation would be over and she would just go get the highchair, but apparently it was important to this woman that she knew exactly how many people were coming.  I told her I would call my wife and find out.  Jennifer didn’t answer.  So I went to the hostess and said, “It was 13 and a highchair.”  I mean, seriously, what did it freakin’ matter?  There was a place for the highchair.  I sat myself on the end of the table where they put the highchair and awaited the arrival of the rest of our party.

After about 10 minutes, Jennifer’s uncle, aunt, and cousins showed up.  I waved them over to the table, and they seated themselves at the opposite end of the tables.  This put about 3-4 chairs between us, but in a noisy restaurant, it may as well been 50 yards. 

During dinner, Jennifer’s cousin made a decision that several of them would stop by our place so they could play games with my father-in-law. When we got to our house, total chaos broke out.  As soon as Jennifer’s uncle saw our computer, he was on me about doing something on my computer for him.  Meanwhile I was moving around the house to round up chairs so we could play games, because we aren’t getting the extra folding chairs we are using for Thanksgiving until today.  So Jennifer and her cousin’s wife agree to help the Uncle with his deal, but we needed the chair at the computer so the rest of us could play a game together; therefore, I run outside to find a deck chair that isn’t soaking wet so they have something to sit on at the computer (I know, very redneck of me).  As I come in from the cold, cold rain, I put the chair in the hallway for a moment to shut the door behind me.  Grace immediately runs to me, climbs up in the chair and plops down.  I grab her and get her out of the hallway and then take the chair to our computer, at which point my cell phone starts ringing.  I ran back to our bedroom to answer it and it was my brother.  I probably sounded pretty ticked off.  I very quickly told him I would talk to him later because he was just returning a call to answer a question I had ask him earlier.

Freecycle Mooching

I joined our local Freecycle group a few months ago just to see what people would be giving away.  Mostly I’m just spammed by people asking for free stuff.  Now, I’m a mooch too.  I joined to get free crap, but at least I don’t have the nerve to send an email asking for it.  I just sit back and wait.  What surprises me is the stuff people ask for, but this one made me laugh out-loud:

Looking for a small or toy poodle to keep inside or any small dog but perfer poodle for a loving home. Also looking for a 10 t0 20 gal or bigger fish tank as well.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I would be suspicious of giving my poodle to someone that just happens to be looking for a large aquarium as well.  Maybe the poodle will be the subject to some sort of scientific experiment, or maybe the poodle is just food for their real pet: a python.  Also, getting a free, full bread dog from a perfect strager seems like a long shot.  What do poodles go for?  I would guess no less than $500.  People need to ask for used underwear or weapons that need disposed of.  Stuff people actually want to get rid of.  Maybe I should send the following:

Wanted: 52in plasma TV for 26 year old with bad eye site.  I’m tired of squinting to see 27in television. Also, my Xbox 360 and PS3 just don’t look right on standard def.  Please help a person in need.

Piper’s Last Stand

Blogging has pretty much taken a back burner to everything lately. I have a lot of things going on right now, and I am staying pretty busy. We are having Thanksgiving at our place next week. Originally we were expecting as many as 15 people, but it turns out we’ll be lucky to have more than 4 people (besides ourselves) show up.

I can’t believe Christmas as going to be here in a little over a month. Every year Jennifer and I say we’ll start shopping early, but we never do it. We wind up having to buy all our gifts in the last month. Neither one of us could really think of anything we wanted for Christmas this year, so we are talking about buying a new recliner. Our existing recliner is an eye sore. We bought the leather recliner we have about 5 years ago.  We had also gotten a cat not long before that, and we named her Piper. One weekend, we decided to go out of town and leave Piper at our apartment with our new recliner. We thought everything would be OK.  Up until then, Piper had left the chair alone. When we got home, we discovered that Piper had decided to chew the thing up from top to bottom. Yes, I said chew. When we first saw the results we assumed the obvious: she had clawed it. There may have been some of that too, but over the years we discovered that it was chewing that did the chair in. We got part of the chair reupholstered at one point because my wife was convinced Piper never messed with the chair anymore. Well, we discovered she preferred perfect leather upholstery. Once she had chewed it up, it apparently lost its appeal. I’ve kept the chair for this long because we put so much money into it, I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of it. Besides, it was ugly, but it still worked. That changed a year or so ago with it stopped reclining. So now its not only an eye sore, but it doesn’t work anymore.

Most people tell me we should have gotten rid of our cat when she chewed up the chair the first time, but we kept Piper until this past summer. She was getting meaner and meaner over the years and wasn’t adjusting to Grace. Piper could have been mean to almost anyone she wanted and Jennifer would not have cared, but when she started hissing at Grace, Jennifer turned on her. The only person in the world that loved that cat decided it was time for her to go. I’ll save the story of getting rid of her for a later date, but it involves an empty potato sack, piano wire, a cinder block and a little event we refer to as “dunking day”. I am joking, of course. We left her at an animal shelter and like to think someone fond of possessed animals took her home.

So Long Sheriff

As you might have heard by now, Henry County, VA (where I live), got a lot of attention last week. Apparently there has been some serious corruption at our Sheriff’s department, including the Sheriff. The quick and dirty of what was going on is this: deputies were reselling the drugs and weapons they confiscated from criminals. Lovely, isn’t it? The Sheriff was involved in so far as that he knew stuff was going on, but didn’t do anything to stop it. He also knowingly took drug money as repayment for a loan. These things make him as guilty as anyone that actually sold the drugs or weapons, as far as I am concerned. Currently, our Sheriff’s office is being run by people brought in from other municipalities until the authorities are able to figure out how widespread the corruption was. The word on the street is that additional arrests are likely.

Henry County is a pretty small area, so when something like this happens it’s a pretty big deal. Not only because it is big news, but because there is a pretty high probability you will know someone involved when 12 people get arrested. I went to school with one fo the guys involved. The thing I remember about him is that he was a pretty good kid. He wasn’t one of people I would have considered him a trouble maker. Word has it that this guy is actually involved in one of the lesser charges and might even get his job back. I feel the most for the familes that didn’t know about the 800 pound gorilla their spouse or relative was hiding. This will ruin the lives of both guilty and innocent people.

So, after ranting about this for a while, I will end on a humorous note. With Henry County being as small as it is, I couldn’t help but think about the following:

The Sheriff’s office in Henry County was closed today.  The crime rate has dropped 5%.

Halloween and Lazy Kids

Well, Halloween has come and gone.  Grace went as a cheerleader.  A Carolina Panther’s cheerleader (which happens to be my favorite football team).  I left my digital camera at my grandmother’s house, but we should have pictures soon.  This Halloween was a lot like last Halloween.  We first made a trip to Jennifer’s grandmother’s house, then went by our church where there was trunk-or-treat.  We went into our church’s fellowship hall where they had some games for kids to play and everything was under dark lights.  The white on Grace’s outfit and her little pumpkin (which held her candy) were both glowing.  She was so cute.   We ended the night by going up to my grandmother’s house.  My grandma started a tradition of making dinner on Halloween a years ago.  It works out well because we are able to go out and do the trick-or-treating without having to worry about dinner.

When we got to my grandmother’s house, trick-or-treaters were still coming and going.  I couldn’t help but notice that more and more kids aren’t even making an effort to dress up as something.  When they don’t dress up, they just look like little kids coming up and begging for candy.  I think I would demand that any kid I give candy to must first tell me what they are dressed up as.  Yeah, I know.  I’ll make them cry.  But dang it, if I make the effort to go buy some candy, the kids can make an effort to dress up.  That’s the problem with kids these days.  They want the candy, but don’t want to work for it.

Another thing I decided is that I am going to start telling kids that I want the trick.  I doubt they even realize what they are saying when they come to the door.  They give me the choice of giving a treat, or them pulling a trick.  If I am expected to make good on the treat, they should be prepared make good on the trick.  Maybe it should be a reward system.  The better the trick, the more the candy.  Lame tricks: no candy.  Yeah, I like this idea.  It’ll be fun until the local pyro decides a good trick would be to burn my house down.  Ah, Kids.

A Rant About Daylight Savings Time

Another Daylight Savings Time (DST) has come and gone, and I can’t help but sit back and question whole concept. Most people know the idea of DST is to conserve electricity by adjusting our clock so that we have more hours of sunlight during our waking hours, but do you know why such an adjustment to our clock is necessary? If we need to adjust our clock to give us more hours of sunlight, then how did our ancestors live and work in the hours that we do without the convenience of electric lightening? The answer is pretty simple: they didn’t. Before electricity, people’s lives pretty much revolved around when the sun was in the sky. With the advent of electric lightening, society began to wake up and go to bed later. Generations before electric lighting would pretty much go to bed soon after the sun went down. While DST was created to conserve electricity, the reality is it simply offsets the change that took place in society as a result of electric lighting.

When I read about this recently, I found it fascinating. I couldn’t help but wonder why we don’t just pick a year to shift our clocks forward an hour and leave it that way. Recently a change was made so that DST now begins the second Sunday in March and ends the first Sunday in November. This means 34 weeks of daylight savings time as opposed to 30. The goal is, obviously, to have more afternoon sunlight. I guess that someone has decided that afternoon sunlight isn’t as important in the winter, since we end DST forcing people to drive home from work at 5PM in the dark. We should just accept the fact that society’s hours of operation have shifted, and therefore our clock should shift as well. I really can’t see the benefit we gain from switching our clocks back to normal time for 24 weeks in the winter. Since most people are at home during the evening, any potential energy savings are lost because it is dark when people get home from work. It appears we’ve just come to accept DST as it is and never question the logic.

Baseball and Amish Cheerleaders

I apologize to those about to read this. I was just feeling in a bit of a crazy mood. Hope it cracks other people up as much as it did me.

Man, the weather is nasty outside. It is something like 50 degrees, but it has been raining ALL DAY. So the ground is saturated and everything just looks wet, cold, and …well…nasty. To make matters worse, Jennifer has been fighting a cold all week. It seemed to hit the low point last night when she started sounding like she was going to hack up a lung. Yum. Best part is, we have an outdoor wedding to attend tomorrow. The good news is it appears that the weather should get better by tomorrow afternoon, and I’ve never known a weatherman to be wrong (cough).

So I heard that the World Series has been on this week. I wouldn’t know, since I don’t watch baseball. Now, I know some people will see this as slander, but I really don’t get it. I’ve seen a few games that I have liked, but in general, I feel like I am sitting around waiting for something exciting to happen. I must not be the only person that isn’t interested in baseball, because ratings of the World Series are down again. Seems like that’s been the same story every few years now.

Sticking with the subject of the World Series, my father-in-law and I have discussed that calling it “The World Series” seems a little grandiose. First, it is just the US and Canada, and last time I checked, there were a few more countries in the world. Calling it the “The American Series” would be a bit more accurate. I guess you rabid baseball fans are probably foaming at the mouth now, but its not like I said all baseball players are doping, pill poppers who think muscles are better than brains. Whoops, now I’ve done it.

By the way, my father-in-law is a fan of baseball and watches the World Series every year, lest you think his opinions are anything like mine. Somehow, we are able to set these differences aside. He’s nowhere near as big a fan as my brother-in-law Bryan. He and his wife actually keep stats on the games they watch for fun. Sounds like more fun than an Amish game of tackle football. Now THAT is a pro sport that would get some ratings….until people realize Amish are pacifist.

Amish line up and two players look in each other in the eyes
Jebediah: Brother Yoder, I believe thou shouldst fall over now lest I have to give thy a hurting.
Yoder: I fear thou willst not touch me, brother Jebediah, for I am burly as an Ox and swift as a deer.
Jebediah: Which reminds me, didst thou receive the bounty of venison I sent over to ye wife?
Ball is snapped
Yoder: I did brother. Tis fine mea…TUMPH…(ball hits Yoder in back of the head).

Doubt there would be many guys going to those games for the cheerleaders.

Bill: Did you see the bonnet on that one?
Tom: Yeah man, and check out the apron on her.
Bill: Sweeeeeeet…

Grace and the Goldfish

Well, I haven’t had much time to blog lately, but I thought I’d tell a quick story.  After Grace’s bath tonight, I put her in her booster seat for a snack like we always do.  At first, she wanted grapes.  I gave her four of them.  She sat there and played with them for a while, so I picked one up, bit it in half and made yummy noises.  She immediately reached for the grape I had bitten in half.  When I gave it to her she put it in her mouth and smiled really big.  She then lifted up another grape to my mouth.  I bit that one in half and handed it to her.  She stuffed that one in her mouth as well.  Now, these were not small grapes.  Her little cheeks are popping out at this point because she had both grapes in her mouth.  She preceded to hand me another grape and I explained to her she had to swallow what she had.  She didn’t seem to like that, but I took the rest of the grapes away and she didn’t have much of a choice.

After getting down the two grapes, she started pointing at the counter.  I couldn’t figure out what she was saying.  She has a few things she can say really well now.  “Duck” is one of them.  It is funny because it starts out with a “Duh” and the end sounds like she is trying to cough up phlegm.  By the way, thanks Google for telling me the correct spelling of phlegm.  I entered “flem” and it made the suggestion.  Amazing.

On with my story…

I eventually figured out that she was pointing to the thing that we usually put her Goldfish crackers in.  I filled it with some crackers and handed it to her.  After she ate a few crackers, I decided to take the container away.  She burst into tears.  I mean genuinely upset with tears.  Heart broken.  I don’t usually fall for this, but maybe because she has a cold or because I am not feeling great myself, I gave in tonight and gave the container back.  She proceeded to pour out the Goldfish onto her tray.  She then put them back into the container by the handfuls, dumped the container out again, and filled it again.  I think she did it 20 times or so.  I watched her about 10 of those trying to figure out what was going through her precious little mind.  It was adorable to watch because she was concentrating so hard on what she was doing.

Anyway, after that her and I sat down and watched an episode of Jojo’s circus before I put her to bed.  It was a fun evening.

Weekend and More

Wow. It has been a while since I had some time to post on my blog. Last week was busy. I won’t go into the details, mostly because it would probably bore you to tears. I have discovered that busy does not always equal interesting. I actually started typing a blog entry at the end of last week to summarize what had happened, but it was boring for me to type it. Now, no one else may find my blog interesting, but I know I am in trouble when I am boring myself. All I will say is that Jennifer had a baby appointment last week and everything was fine. The rest of this post will probably sound scatter brained, because I am just going to cover a few topics real quick.

Sunday afternoon I took the time to wash my car. You know your car is dirty when there is green goo under your spoiler. I don’t neglect my car. I get the oil changed like I should and do the other routine things, but washing it is just one of those things that gets pushed to the back burner. It usually gets pretty dirty before I wash it, but this is probably the worst it has ever been. I really didn’t realize how dirty it was until it was clean. It is (supposed to be) white, so after the wash, I felt like it was going to blind me when I looked at it.

Boy, has it been getting cold at night around here. Over the weekend it dipped into the upper 20’s overnight. Saturday morning our thermometer said it was 26 degrees outside. Bur. The weather this time of year drives me nuts. Indoors it gets to around 80 during the day but then drops down really low at night. Last year this time I think we must have been paranoid about keeping the temperature right from Grace, because I remember us running the heat at night an AC during the day. So far, this fall we are getting away with just keeping the windows opened during the day.

Anyway, that’s about all I have to say for the moment.